This is an excellent book, far more capable than any of the scores of Java-for-novices books that have come before it. Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates deserve rich kudos–and big sales–for developing this book’s new way of teaching the Java programming language, because any reader with even a little bit of discipline will come away with true understanding of how the language works.

Perhaps best of all, this is no protracted “Hello, World” introductory guide. Readers get substantial exposure to object-oriented design and implementation, serialization, neatwork programming, threads, and Remote Method Invocation (RMI). Key to the authors’ teaching style are carefully designed graphics. Rather than explain class inheritance (to cite one example) primarily with text, the authors use a series of tree diagrams that clarify the mechanism far more succinctly. The diagrams are carefully annotated with arrows and notes. Also characteristic of the unique teaching strategy is heavy reliance on exercises, in which the reader is asked to complete partial classes, write whole new code segments and do design work. Though there’s little discussion of why the exercises’ correct answers are what they are, it’s clear that the practice work was carefully designed to reinforce the lesson at hand. If you’ve waited this long to give Java a try, this book is a great choice.

The Java programming language for people with no Java experience, and even people with no programming experience at all. Key concepts read like a list of Java features: Object oriented design, variable type and scope, object properties and methods, inheritance and polymorphism, exceptions, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), network connectivity, Java archives (JAR files), and Remote Method Invocation (RMI). Product Description: Between Moore’s law and the notion of “Internet time,” we’re constantly being bombarded with more and more information–most of it in the form of disorganized data. Turning this information into useful knowledge is getting harder and harder to do, and it takes time that we just don’t have.

The current economic situation hasn’t helped either. With money spread thin, who hasn’t had to take on new tasks and learn new things? And slashed training budgets mean there’s little to rely on for learning except books- but learning a complex new programming language like Java from a book is no simple task. Maybe your boss is giving you two weeks to come up to speed for a project, or maybe you’re ready to take that next step up in your current job, or be a more viable candidate for a new job. Whatever the reason, the onus is on you to learn. All these factors make it more important than ever to have a way to learn–fast. And that’s what Head First Java does — by exploiting the way your brain works, it compresses the time it takes to really learn. Why? Because its unique approach not only shows you what you need to know about Java syntax, it enables and encourages you to think like a Java programmer. Mastering object oriented programming requires a certain way of thinking, not just a certain way of writing code.

The latest research in cognitive science, neurobiology, and educational psychology shows that learning at the deeper levels takes a lot more than text on a page. Actively combining words and pictures not only helps in understanding the subject, but in remembering it. According to some studies, an engaging, entertaining, image-rich, conversational approach actually teaches the subject better. Head First Java puts these theories into practice with a vengeance. Chock full of mind stretching exercises, memorable analogies, and stories, humor and attitude that aren’t just pasted-on distractions but that are used to drive home key points and make ideas come alive, the Head First approach is as effective as it is unique. It takes a pretty unique person to have developed such an innovative way to Learn Java.

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